If football games are canceled next season, ESPN may be the TV network that is "least affected financially, despite its reliance on sports," according to Moody’s Investors Service in a report cited by The Hollywood Reporter.
That’s because ESPN’s fans would probably still tune in to see what’s airing in place of the NFL, while the network would avoid having to pay big fees for game rights, the article says.
One of the biggest challenges for the broadcast networks that carry NFL games will be the loss of larger audiences for lead-in and lead-out shows, according to Moody’s.
DirecTV may feel the loss of the games with its net subscriber additions, but short-term shouldn’t be hurt financially, the article notes.
The outlets with the most at stake are local CBS, Fox and NBC affiliates, since they don’t have direct cash costs for NFL programming, making the games very profitable for the stations, the piece notes.
The Los Angeles Times’ Company Town blog, meanwhile, examines how the networks might fill the holes in their programming cused by a loss of NFL games. It notes that NBC, unlike the others, would have to fill a hole in prime time with the loss of “Sunday Night Football.”
While NBC hasn’t announced plans for its schedule without football, it would likely look to movies or reality shows to fill the void.